Everton are closing in on a deal for 1.FSV Mainz 05 midfielder Jean-Philippe Gbamin, according to Sky Germany.
The Ivorian had been targeted as one of the club’s top priorities to replace Idrissa Gana Gueye, after agreeing on a £30million deal with Paris Saint-Germain for the 29-year-old, and could welcome Gbamin to Merseyside on Thursday, August 1 for his medical.
It is alleged by the German variant of Sky Sports that the Blues board have reached a complete agreement with Mainz for the transfer of their midfielder, and now only have the finer details of the 23-year-old’s contract to negotiate.
The deal will set Everton back €30million (£27.4m), with a five-year contract thought to be on the table for the Bundesliga star, representing a slight saving on the initially reported £30milion asking price or the increased amount of €40million (£36.5m) speculated in France last week.
Director of Football Marcel Brands is thought to have opened negotiations much lower than the now-agreed price, with reports of a £23million bid being rejected, but striving for an agreement has seen the Dutchman set Everton up for years to come.
While Gbamin’s passing may not currently be at the level of Gueye’s, the vastly-younger midfielder – who can play at centre-half as well as midfield – has time on his side to develop, and has every inch of potential to suggest he can one day be as good as the now PSG man.
Over his past three seasons in the Bundesliga, Gbamin has increased his average passes per ninety consistently, with an average of 36.9 in 2016/17 rising to 40.6 in ‘17/18 and 44.9 in his most recent campaign. His numbers also include a decline in inaccurate passes, and a rise in key balls from 0.2 in his first season in Germany to 0.8 last term.
Gbamin still needs time to work on his ball-retention, however, as his number of unsuccessful touches rose in the recent campaign to a career-high for a domestic season at 1.5, along with being dispossessed a joint-career high 1.7 times per 90.
On the other foot, though, the 5-cap Ivory Coast international won possession via a tackle every 52.4 minutes, and committed a foul once every 99 minutes – a decline from once every 72 the season before.
If the San-Pedro-born anchor can continue this upward trajectory and adapt to life in the Premier League, there is no reason why he cannot be a success at Goodison Park and give the club something to look forward to after a tough week saying goodbye to Gueye.